You have a good eye for photography and a stellar collection of photos to back it up. The thought of pursuing photography as a career has crossed your mind. The problem is, you don’t know where to begin.
Why not start with creating a website where you can show off your work professionally? In this article, we’ll cover the steps on how to build a pro photography website not only capable of giving the proper representation of your skills but also marketing your service as a professional photographer.
Why is a Website a Perfect Medium for Showcasing Your Art?
When it comes to showcasing images, there are admittedly plenty of image-based platforms to do that very job.
Instagram — one of the largest social photo platforms — has a massive following of one billion monthly active users, and that’s last year. DeviantArt — an online social media sharing for artists and art appreciators — has collaborated with various big companies like Disney and Bandai Namco.
These facts alone would make you think that these platforms can give you much needed exposure to launch your photography business.
And you’re probably right. That is if you have what it takes to stand out from the rest — approximately one billion users (and counting) if you decide to do it through Instagram — or, at the very least, be on par with other established photographers in that platform.
Bottom line, riding on the popularity of other platforms might not be the best idea to jumpstart your photography career.
Luckily for you, having a website can save you from fighting uphill. Here’s why owning a personal photography website is much better for your career and business:
- Builds a professional image
Admittedly, building a website isn’t as easy as creating an account in a popular social media platform. However, by going to a great length to make it happen, you indirectly show your commitment to service excellence. And trust us, your customers will see your hard work.
In addition, you get to build your brand much faster by not associating yourself with another platform. Thus, there’s no risk of being compared to other users who might be on a better footing than you.
- Has more space for all types of content
A website can be whatever you want, and that includes providing space for all types of content you want to include. Despite occasionally needing the skills and money to do it, a website still allows you to expand its functionality in accommodating different needs.
Having this flexibility is particularly ideal for photography business since you’ll be dealing with various types of media and writing content.
- Allows inside and outside personalization
Creating an account in an established platform like Instagram and DeviantArt is similar to renting a furnished dorm. You get all the essential furniture, but you don’t get to do any makeover whatsoever since that space doesn’t belong to you exclusively.
Owning a website is like buying your own house. You have the total freedom to personalize the space based on personal preference alone. The customization privilege covers both the back end and front end of your website.
A photography business isn’t limited to photography services only. These days, many photographers are branching out into the ecommerce scene in which they sell merch containing their personal shots.
If you own a website, you don’t need to use multiple platforms to promote your online store and facilitate the transactions. You can incorporate third-party services into the existing website, thus making the whole process happen in one place.
For these reasons, creating your own website can do you wonders in the long run.
What Do You Need to Get Started?
Now that we (hopefully) got you on-board, it’s time to make the necessary preparations. There are three essentials you need to prepare first before you start building a website.
Get those stellar photographs out and showcase them to the world. Since your business gravitates towards personal skills, you’ll get nowhere without having solid proof of your prowess in that particular area.
- Brand Name
It’s common to find photographers who name their brand after themselves. This will work just fine if you’re planning on going solo. You can also choose another name based on your personal preference, but make sure it’s catchy and memorable.
While you can build a website without spending a single dime, there’s bound to be limitations that will hinder you in the long run. By making an early investment, you’ll indirectly pave your way towards success by eliminating those limitations.
8 Steps on How to Create a Pro Photography Website
If you’re not feeling confident with your technical knowledge, don’t get intimidated just yet. We assure you that anyone can build a pro photography website, including you. Simply follow these eight easy steps, and you’ll have your own website in no time.
1. Get a Web Hosting and Set Up Your Domain Name
First thing first, you need to rent a server to host your website. There are a lot of affordable web hosting providers that can give you all the essential resources and features for a low price. For simplicity and financial purposes, we suggest using a shared hosting service for now.
Setting up your domain name is equally important since it’ll serve as your website address. You can name it after your brand as long as it’s not yet taken, or use a name generator to help you choose a domain name. Once you find the right name, you can buy it via a domain registrar.
2. Install WordPress and Start Building Your Website
Rather than limiting your choice, we take the liberty of suggesting one of the most popular yet free CMS (Content Management System) that’s more than capable of realizing your dream website. Due to its open-source nature, you can easily add and remove features based on your needs and preference.
Most web hosting providers provide a 1-click installer for WordPress these days. You can locate it in your web hosting control panel or contact your web host’s customer support to help set it up for you. If you want to expand your knowledge about WordPress simply check here.
3. Choose a Website Theme
One of the perks of using WordPress is its wide range of themes. You can either use one of the default themes provided by WordPress or install a third-party theme available on the web. Each theme is usually built for a specific niche, so you might want to find a theme that’s specifically made for photography websites.
While there are countless free WordPress themes to choose from, paid themes tend to give exclusive features and support that would be beneficial in the long run. We’ll leave that decision to you, but feel free to browse these premium WordPress themes in case you’re interested.
4. Upload Your Portfolio
Time to fill up your website. As much as you might want to put all of your photographs on the front page, it’s best to group them based on their style or theme. This arrangement will allow visitors to explore the site and familiarize themselves with your style much easier.
Luckily for you, there are a ton of great WordPress gallery plugins that can help you with the arrangement. Similar to WordPress theme, you can find both free and paid ones on the web. However, getting the paid plugin will definitely be a good investment.
5. Add Information Pages to Promote Your Services
If you’re selling photography services, it’s crucial to let potential customers know how to reach you. This is when a “Contact Me” page comes in handy. You don’t necessarily follow the standard template, but make sure to include your contact info on your website nonetheless.
Better yet, put up detailed information about the type of service you’re selling right above your contact info. Thus, visitors who are interested in your service can find all the necessary info and make a purchase decision at the same time.
6. Optimize Your Website Performance
Similar to owning a physical store, you’ll want to keep your visitors happy during their stay. In this case, you should always try to improve the user experience.
Not only that happy visitors can contribute to your sales and conversion rate, but your ranking on search engine results pages (SERP) will also benefit from them.
One of the best ways to improve user experience is by optimizing your website performance. This includes maintaining fast load speed and making sure your site is mobile-friendly.
You can do both of them at the same time by using a responsive WordPress theme that takes no longer than three seconds to load. Try using Pingdom website speed test and Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to make sure that your theme passed both tests.
7. Install Necessary Plugins to Enhance Your Website Performance
One of the benefits of using WordPress is the ability to add additional functions via plugins. Similar to the gallery plugin we have previously discussed, you can easily install other plugins to expand your website’s functionality and capabilities.
To give you the general ideas of what you add into your website, you can check this article to see some of the most popular plugins that most photography websites use. However, it’s best to identify your needs beforehand as installing a bunch of unnecessary plugins can slow your website down.
8. Promote Your Website
After putting up your best work and making sure your website works perfectly, it’s time to promote it to the world. This is the perfect time to take advantage of those popular social media platforms’ exposure and use them to spread the word about your new business website.
If you have more than two social media accounts, you can use the Buffer plugin to help plan and publish your advertisement content to various platforms at the same time. Make your visitors help marketing your website as well by adding social media share buttons via AddToAny plugin.
Start Small, Think Big
Creating a website might seem a bit daunting and expensive at first. However, your hard work and early investment will help launch your photography business much faster than any other social media photo platforms.
Here’s what you need to do to build and optimize your own pro photography website:
- Get web hosting and set up your domain name
- Install WordPress and start building your website
- Choose a WordPress theme
- Upload your portfolio
- Add your contact info and service list to promote your business
- Optimize your website performance
- Install necessary plugins to expand your website’s functionalities
- Promote your website via social media platforms
Many photographers have gone down this very path and bask in success. What’s stopping you?
How to Create a Pro Photography Website by Simon Dwight Keller
Simon Dwight Keller is a digital marketing entrepreneur motivated
to drive tons of traffic to his customer websites.
After three years of hard work as a freelancer,
he decided to take up his services to the next level and
co-founded digital marketing company PRable.
Besides his desperate love for SEO, Simon is interested in ice hockey and traveling.